The National Music Center: A Gem for Music Enthusiasts and Newcomers Alike


The entrance of the NMC.

By Fungnam N.

The National Music Centre lies nestled in the corner of 9 Avenue and 4 street, on the outskirts of Calgary’s East Village. Part of Studio Bell, the NMC shares the building with the Canadian Music Hall of Fame. The five-storey building, covering 160,000 square feet, is hard to miss. With relatively cheap admission and convenient placement between downtown and East Village, it is a must-visit location for anyone, especially for music fans. Here are a few of the many things the NMC has to offer:

The Music Memorabilia: After all, what would a museum be without the collections? A huge range of items celebrates the story of music in Canada. Canadian rock hero Randy Bachman’s ‘American Woman’ guitar is one of the many attractions. Avril Lavigne’s ‘Girlfriend’ outfit, complete with electric blue guitar, and Shania Twain’s Toronto Maple Leafs costume are also of interest. Outside of Canadian artists, one of Elton John’s pianos is up for display, and TONTO, the world’s largest polyphonic synthesizer, can be seen through a glass display. Of course, the items listed are only a tiny portion of the 2,000 artifacts located in the NMC.

The King Eddy Hotel: Just across the street from the entrance is the King Eddy Hotel. Originally opened in 1905, the Hotel has gone through a few renovations, and today, is part of Studio Bell. The Hotel was one of the most prominent blues bars in the city, and is now a live venue for a variety of musicians. It is also where the Rolling Stones Mobile Studio is located. Although a private tour is necessary to see it up close and personal, you can catch a glimpse of it through a window near the entrance; just make sure you don’t end up accidentally gazing at someone’s backside instead. The mobile was initially used by the Stones in place of a studio, and was rented out to other bands like Led Zeppelin, Deep Purple, Fleetwood Mac, Iron Maiden, and Bob Marley. Multiple classic albums and singles were recorded in the mobile, including Sticky FingersLed Zeppelin III and IV, Machine Head, and “No Woman, No Cry”.

The Interactives: A variety of interactive materials celebrates not only music, but its effect on everything else[i don’t really see the connection between  really]. You can (attempt to) release your inner rock star, and learn to play acoustic or electric guitar, bass, drums, and piano. For more vocally oriented people, a singing booth is also available. There is also an area where you express your opinion on “Do you think music can change the world?” and share it via sticky notes You can also listen to samples of some of the musical artifacts on display, like the variety of synthesizers and organs.

The Hall of Fame: The Canadian Music Hall of Fame celebrates the many achievements of Canadian musicians. Every year, a certain musician (or group of) is inducted into the Hall of Fame during the Juno Awards. With prominent names like Shania Twain, Alanis Morissette, Rush, Neil Young, Anne Murray, and Leonard Cohen, it’s a great way to appreciate the multi-talented musicians of Canada. The Canadian Songwriters Hall of Fame and the Canadian Country Music Hall of Fame are also located on the fifth floor, both with artifact collections and information on the inductees.

Hopefully, you can find the time to visit the National Music Centre sometime soon. As the CEO Andrew Mosker stated, “Canada’s music deserves a beautiful home.”


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